cover image Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita

Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita

Giada De Laurentiis. Clarkson Potter, $35 (288p) ISBN 978-0-307-98722-8

This confusing cookbook by Food Network star De Laurentiis gets one thing right: casual cooking perfect for sharing is Italy’s forte, but here casual often reads as careless, if not out-and-out erroneous: ragù and ragout are not the same; piadina is a griddle-cooked flatbread, not baked store-bought pizza dough; and she doesn’t make clear the distinction between risotto, from the north, and the Sicilian fried rice balls known as arancini, presented here with an amalgam of crabmeat and mascarpone cheese. Brushing San Daniele prosciutto with oil, sugar, allspice, and cayenne and roasting it until crisp would seem to overwhelm its delicate flavor. The chapter breakdown is puzzling as well: a chapter on between-meal snacks includes pizza and sandwiches, but there are more sandwiches in the lunch chapter. A clutch of recipes grouped under “La Dolce Vita” are purported to be time-consuming, but include grilled scallops that are ready in a flash. Desserts can be confounding and include orzo pasta with white-chocolate chips and Duncan Hines brownies layered with ice cream. With no shortage of Italian books on the market, this one is likely to appeal only to the television personality’s most ardent fans. (Apr.)